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LOS ANGELES – The new lineup of hosts on the long-running ABC daytime talk show “The View” may not be enough to save the floundering show.
A well-placed insider tells FOX411 that the Barbara Walters-created program, now in its 18th season, may be off the air next year, as executives at the network are currently weighing whether or not to salvage the show, now helmed by Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Nicole Wallace and Rosie Perez.
“You can’t keep hiring and firing, trying to save a sinking ship,” the insider told FOX411.
“There is no leadership on the show,” the source explained. “It’s the news division that pays for ‘The View,’ so the debate now is whether the show is iconic enough to pour money into revamping, or do away with all together. At this stage, the feeling is that it’s pretty much done. They may test a remodeled version for one more season, but that would require work and top brass aren’t sure that it is worth it.”
Another source connected to the show told us that Internet chatter suggests ABC News may be looking to expand its No.1 morning show “Good Morning America” to take over “The View” slot.
A rep for ABC News denies "The View" is in any trouble at all, insists it not in jeopardy of being canceled, and says it continues to dominate daytime. Data provided by Nielsen Media Research shows “The View” averaging 2.9 million viewers per telecast, down one percent from the same time last year, and four percent in the coveted 25-54 demographic.
“Given all the changes, the show has come a long way and is holding steady in viewership,” the rep said. “The pace and energy has picked up, and things are really starting to gel.”
But our source says problems abound, from cast dynamics to booking woes.
“Rosie (O’Donnell) and Whoopi (Goldberg) don’t get along at all. When the cameras aren’t rolling, there is no talking between them. But the staff much praefer dealing with Rosie. But is she enough to hold the show if they were to get another new lineup next year? That’s the question,” the insider said. “They threw Rosie Perez in there after Jenny (McCarthy) didn’t have her contract renewed, but that hasn’t helped the show either.”
Indeed there are reports that Perez won't be asked back after she finishes her run on Broadway in Larry David's new play "Fish in the Dark," reports the rep also denies.
While the show has drawn big names like President Obama and Sarah Palin in the past, executives have apparently been lamenting the recent lack of top-tier guests, and have been scrambling to boost bookings.
Veteran television agent Alec Shankman, head of alternative programming and digital media at Abrams Artists, said that the daytime syndication business can be extraordinarily challenging.
“But ‘The View’ has experienced incredible success since 1997. That being said, no show lasts forever and ‘The View’ has gone through substantial turnover in hosts in recent years, as well as announcing the retirement of the primary face of the show, Barbara Walters,” he said.
Walters, who created “The View” and made it a huge hit in the 11 AM timeslot, left last year.
If ABC does decide to halt “The View” after this season, it will cost them. Goldberg still has one more year on her contract and she would likely still earn her $5 million annual salary regardless of whether the program airs or not. O’Donnell is said to have signed a $4 million deal for one season only.
In its original version, Walters was joined on the panel by Meredith Viera, Joy Behar, Debbie Matenpoulous and Star Jones. The show has cycled through numerous others including Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Lisa Ling and Sherri Shepard.
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